Summiting The Highest Peak In The Rosengarten Group – Via Ferrata Catinaccio d’Antermoia

There are over 80 peaks in the Italian Dolomites that reach over 3000 meters, and Catinaccio d’Antermoia is one of them.

It’s also the tallest summit in its group known as the Rosengarten, located in the North West part of the Dolomites. 

The fact that reaching the top is easily accessible to the beginners of the Via Ferrata World makes it an excellent possibility to bag one of the highest summits in the Dolomites. 

Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia – the Stats:

Time required: 3-4 hours (excluding the approach to the hut)

Elevation gain: ca. 400 m / 1300 ft (from the hut)

Route difficulty: beginner

The summit of Catinaccio photographed from the Terrarosa Peak. Italian Dolomites.
The summit of Catinaccio photographed from the Terrarosa Peak

Getting to the start of the via ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia

It’s quite the hike to get to Passo Principe where the via ferrata to the summit of Catinaccio officially starts. A taxi shuttle used to operate to Rifugio Gardeccia, helping tourists to skip the not-so-exciting part of the hike, but it has been recently canceled. 

The quickest way now is to take the cable car from Vigo di Fassa and walk 2,5 hours along a well-maintained path. First, follow the signs for rifugio Gardeccia. 

Path 584 to Passo Prinzipe.  Rosengarten, Italian Dolomites.
Path 584 to Passo Prinzipe.  Rosengarten, Italian Dolomites.

From Rifugio Gardeccia take the path nr 546 and follow the signs for Rifugio Vajolet (around 1 hour). Make sure to make a brief stop here to admire the beautiful Vajolet towers visible to the left. 

The route then continues upward onto path nr 584 for another hour to Rifugio Passo Principe (Grassleitenpasshütte) –  one of my favorite mountain hut in the Dolomites. 

Via ferrata Catinaccio D'Antermoia information
Catinaccio – not the prettiest of mountains

The summit of Catinaccio will eventually be directly in front of you. I remember looking at it the first time and thinking to myself, am I really going to summit that? It looks scarier than it is! 

Although everything is very well marked, it’s always best to visualize your journey so I recommend carrying a map with you. In this case, Tobacco map no. 6 will do the job. 

Alternatively, you can reach Passo Principe along via ferrata Passo Santner. I have done it myself as part of the multiday hut-to-hut traverse of the Rosengarten group in the Dolomites. This is a great option if you plan an overnight stay in one of the many rifugios operating in the area. 

Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia: Route Description

Via Ferrata Catinaccio D'Antermoia with rifugio Passo Prinzipe visible in the fast distance
Cable protection along the route

Once you make it to Passo Principe, stand on the helipad with your back facing the hut. Directly in front of you is the scree path going up which you will have to take. Turn left and follow the ledge and the prominent red paint marks until you reach a ladder.

Once you counterintuitively downclimb a ladder, the route continues up in big zigzags.

There are quite a few exposed sections on this via ferrata, but they are all very well-equipped with cables. Make sure to always clip in. On each via ferrata I have done there was always at least one remembrance plaque somewhere along the way with a name and photo of the fallen victim. 

The views along the via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia

With every meter of elevation that you gain, the views just get better and better. You will be able to look down upon the path you hiked on to reach Passo Principe, as well as get a perfect glimpse of the heart of the Rosengarten group. 

The last 50 meters leading to the summit cross are very exposed and the cables disappear. I would lie if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit scared. Just make sure you go slowly and place your feet steadily. 

Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia
Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia
Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia
Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia

From the summit you will be able to look down to lake Antermoia, Marmolada – Dolomite’s highest peak and Sassolungo – the prominent peak and one of the most iconic photo subjects in the area. 

Of course it wouldn’t be Italy, if there wasn’t a cross at the top! 

Summit views of the via ferrata Catinaccio D'Antermoia
Walking along the ridgeline at the summit.

The descent is just on the other side of the mountain and similarly to the ascent it’s clearly signalled with red paint marks. In circa one hour you will make it down to Antermoia valley (Val D’Antermoia), which you could see from the summit.

From here you have to continue upward on path 584 to Passo Antermoia then down to rifugio Passo Principe. 

I highly recommend staying overnight in the rifugio. Not only it is the coolest building structure I have seen in the Dolomites, it also has the nicest atmosphere, very cheerful owner and a cute Border Collie named Chiaco to keep you company! 

Shop my via ferrata gear essentials

Black Diamond Helmet

Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it hurtling down the mountain. If it hits you on the head it could have serious consequences. A helmet placed on your head (not inside your backpack) is a must! 

Shop on: Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

71gKk4U+f2S. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Make sure to try it on first before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness, that will be comfy to wear between the cable-protected sections when you are hiking.

Shop Women’s on Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

Shop Men’s on Amazon / Backcountry (US) / Bergfreunde (Europe)

edelrid basis cable kit special via ferrata set

Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard

A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall, by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.

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91P0f6XnFML. AC SL1500

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. Personally, I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.

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salewa womens wildfire edge approach shoes detail 6

Salewa Wildfire Edge Approach Shoes

My go-to pair of hiking shoes for easier trails or via ferrata, where I don’t need extra ankle support. They provide excellent grip on the rock and are very durable.

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Reeloq Smartphone Securing System

If you want to be able to take great photos on a via ferrata and not worry about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone-securing system, that will allow you to use your phone on any of your adventures. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal.

Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)

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Hi! I am the photographer and creator of I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.


  1. Hi Marta – On our second day, we are planning to go from Rifugio Santner to Rifugio Antermoia over VF Catinaccio. Could you tell me the best path to get to Refigio Antermoia from the VF Catinaccio? Thank you!

    • Hi Maggie. Thanks for following. You will be able to see Lago Antermoia from the summit of Catinaccio (providing the weather is good). Rifugio Antermoia is right next to it. Once you descend from the Summit of Catinaccio on the other side instead of turning right onto path no. 584 towards passo di Antermoia you turn left towards rifugio Antermoia. Don’t worry there will be signs. Also make sure to carry a map with you. Happy hiking!

  2. I’ve read that this VF is usually done West to East as you have done. We’ll want to do it in reverse. Any reason not to?

    We are experienced mountain hikers, but have only a little VF experience.

    • Hi Davide. I think most people do it from West to East because the approach is easier to Passo Principe. Whichever way you do it you will have to downclimb some via ferrata sections. There will be more downclimbig on the West side, but since it’s a beginner ferrata it shouldn’t pose a problem. Make sure you are properly equipped and know how to use the gear. I hope that helps.

  3. Hi Marta, we just did the Santner via ferrata as our first one and it was great!! But it took us way longer than you described, like 3hrs from rif Fronza to rif santner. How do you think the difficulty of santner compared to this one? We also found the descent from santner to rif vajolet quite challenging (slippery scree). Would love to hear your thoughts before we decide to attempt! 😊

    • Hi Katie. I am probably very late with the answer. I am sorry for not responding sooner but was off the grid for the past week. I will still leave an answer in case others are looking for the same info. To me via ferrata Catinaccio was easier when going up, but there is downclimbing involved to get down the mountain on the other side and I find downclimbing on a via ferrata more difficult than going up. As for the descent to rifugio Vajolet, yes it can be challenging, especially after it rained etc. Anyways I hope you decided to go up Catinaccio and had an awesome time!

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